Oxfam presents Stand As One — Live At Glastonbury 2016

Good cause, average album. It’s raising money to tackle the refugee crisis and in memory of MP Jo Cox, with profits split 75-25 between Oxfam and the Jo Cox Fund. You can also sign a petition Fair play to the artists, who have donated the songs from their Glastonbury Festival set to this live album. […]

ZZ Top: Tonite at Midnight

Some live albums undergo more than a little studio engineering before hitting the shops; as one might hope with ZZ Top, they seem to have pressed “record” and what they played is what you get. The mix on opener Got Me Under Pressure sounds a bit raw and if a drum fill starts a fraction […]

The Ramona Flowers: Part Time Spies

This album is an odd mix of cool electronic dance and 80s synth pop: one minute it sounds like a tune from Rob da Bank on the radio (or think Delphic), the next a Duran Duran B side. Opener Dirty World is not bad, despite having an intro that melds Kim Wilde’s Kids in America […]

Smokey Joe and the Kid: Running To The Moon

Well, we might have gotten us right here our most played album of the year. Yessir. It makes you talk like this because it drops in bits of dialogue from top movies and is a bit 1920s. The opening track has lines from O Brother, Where Art Thou?: “You work for the railroad, Grampa? I […]

Clare Teal: Twelve O’Clock Tales

There’s not much to say about this: Clare Teal, one of Britain’s best loved jazz singers, and also a broadcaster, is famous not only for her voice but for signing the biggest recording contract by a British jazz singer. She specialises in singing standards and for this new CD is joined by The Hallé Orchestra, […]

Sigvards Klava: Arvo Pärt, Da Pacem Domine

To call this CD awe-inspiring is like saying the Grand Canyon is big or Formula One noisy. Just as the Grand Canyon is so big it’s hard to take in the first time you see it, this is so awe-inspiring that it knocks the senses a little at the first play through. We visited Auschwitz […]

Gerald Finzi: A Finzi Anthology

We’ve been playing this collection of the work of Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) a fair amount, as it is enjoyable and relatively undemanding. Finzi was one of the most characteristically “English” composers of his generation and while he did write some Christian texts, being an agnostic of Jewish descent he tends not to be overtly religious. […]

Joint Venture Percussion Duo: Ravel, Dances and Fairy Tales

The sound of this CD will be familiar to all parents of small children: there’s a plethora of CDs playing classic rock tunes on the vibraphone or marimba, everyone from Foo Fighters to lullaby versions of Pink Floyd (“sleepy side of the moon”, obviously). They do soothe babies, and parents get less irritating tunes than […]

Butch Walker: Stay Gold

Yey, it’s the summer of ‘69 all over again, or at least 1984, when Bryan Adams’s song of that name was around. Hair metal was still a thing — Van Halen released the imaginatively titled 1984 and Bon Jovi’s debut (equally imaginatively titled, Bon Jovi) came out, while Whitesnake could still release albums with snakes […]

Skinny Lister: The Devil, The Heart, The Fight

Londoners Skinny Lister beat the listener into smiling submission; it’s impossible not to find something to like or a toe to tap on this raucous and lively album. The sound: imagine if Frank Turner played punk sea shanties. They’ve got the same earthy folk sound as Turner but with added concertina and tin whistle. The […]